Colleges in Dublin Fail to Support Students After Rent Prices Reach Record high

By Sarah Ruane

The rent crisis in Dublin was made distinctly clear on Tuesday, following the most recent rent report from Daft.ie. The grim findings confirmed that rents have increased by almost 13 per cent in some areas of Dublin, with the highest rise in West Dublin (12.6 per cent) where the average monthly rent now stands at €1,399, up 12.6 per cent on this time last year.

As we know, students are amongst those who are most vulnerable to this frightful spike in rent prices, with many of them finding it difficult to acquire accommodation in the city within their budget.

Startup Stock Photos

(Source: Pexel)

“The spike is completely unjustified, landlords are expecting too much for substandard living conditions, it’s ridiculous,” said fourth year optometry student Emma Walsh.

Ms Walsh was forced into “digs” style accommodation in Templeogue this year after she was unable to find suitable accommodation close to her college, DIT, in Dublin’s city centre.  The optometry student has had to rely on buses in order to get to college. Bus fares on top of rent payments have placed a huge financial burden on the final year student.

“I’ve had to cut down my hours in work as I’m in fourth year and the workload is too heavy. I worked extra hours during the summer as I knew I wouldn’t be [able to] finance myself this college year. My college timetable is very busy as it’s final year and weekends are my only chance to get my assignments done. This, plus work, is adding even more pressure to a difficult year,” she said.

The Daft.ie latest quarterly rental report shows rents rose nationwide by an average of 11.7 per cent in the year to September. This is the largest annual increase in rents ever recorded in the Daft.ie report, which first began in 2002.

Vice president of the USI, Jack Leahy, believes that recent developments in the private rental market only serve the interests of those who own rental property.

“Simply hiking a price because a market context justifies it is predatory behaviour, there has to be a notable improvement in quality of accommodation for the kind of increases that we’re seeing to be justified,” he said.

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(Source: Pexel)

When asked about the support that colleges offer to students, Mr Leahy stated there is no consistency across colleges in how information is presented and how support is offered.

“The housing crisis comes at a time when institutions are trying to recruit more and higher fee-paying non-EU students, but there is no consistent support offered to these students to find housing. There is definitely a lot more that can be done to support students. There isn’t really an incentive to reach out, either, as rooms are filling very quickly due to the state of the market,” he said.

Karen Dunleavy, who is currently in the first year of a MRUP master’s degree in UCD, shares the same frustrations as Mr. Leahy. She believes that there is not enough support or information given out by colleges.

“The information is not readily available to students and they don’t even have much advertised, you have to go looking for it. I don’t know where I would even start looking. From living in Galway for the last few years I have found it very difficult to cope with the rise in rent,” she said.

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(Source: Pexel)

The USI have given a few tips and guidelines for students seeking accommodation next year.

  1. Panic is your enemy, and planning is your friend.
  2. Start to assess your situation and your options in the New Year, and have a plan in place for the many possible outcomes.
  3. If you’re looking for accommodation, never put down money unless you’re sure.
  4. Make sure you’ve seen the place and met the landlord before any cash changes hands.
  5. Make sure to only work with registered landlords if you’re in the private sector.
  6. Insist on the standards that the high cost should demand.
  7. Most importantly, feel free to seek out the support that you can avail of from your students’ union.

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